Turns out the Pro Display XDR is every bit as good as Apple says it is

Pro Display XDR next to a Mac Pro
Pro Display XDR next to a Mac Pro (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple made bold claims about the Pro Display XDR's capabilities when it was announced.
  • Those capabilities are what backs up that $4,999 starting price – plus stand.
  • A new PCMag review concluded that sure enough, it's pretty amazing at what it does.

The Apple Pro Display XDR is a monitor that starts at $4,999 and doesn't come with a stand. It needs to be good, and Apple has made some bold claims in that regard. But with most people unable to review it beyond saying that it looks nice, we were left taking Apple's word for it. But now PCMag has shared a comprehensive review. Complete with statistics.

Those statistics looked at things like peak brightness, color accuracy, and Adobe RGB coverage. And in the vast majority of cases it blew the competition away.

Starting with that Adobe RGB coverage, the Pro Display XDR produced 96.7% coverage which was only bettered by Dell's U3219Q 4K monitor with a score of 981.%. The color gamut was also tested, with the Pro Display XDR taking the crown as the best monitor PCMag has ever tested.

This is where the rubber truly meets the road for the Pro Display XDR. And the Pro Display XDR delivered here big-time, securing an all-time record for monitors we've run this test on at PC Labs. With a result of 98.7% coverage, the Pro Display XDR fell just shy (really, within the margin of error) of its advertised 99% coverage. That's well higher than even the OLED-based Alienware 55, our now second-highest scoring monitor in this category, at 96.5%.

Color accuracy is an important factor for people using a display for photo and video editing, and those are two areas where Apple says this display will come into its own. And PCMag agrees following its own testing. During that testing the display managed a score of 0.68 dE with anything below 1.0 dE accepted to be "top tier." What's that actually mean? I didn't know, either! Over to PCMag:

This aspect is important to anyone who works in pro-level content creation, because having the 'most orange orange,' as we like to describe it, means that you're working with colors at their most accurate. How 'orange' your monitor's 'orange' is is measured using a figure known as 'delta E.' (It's expressed more commonly as 'dE.') The lower the dE on a monitor, the more accurately it's displaying the color it's trying to produce.

So to sum up, the Pro Display XDR knows how to represent colors on-screen. And this is all without there being any mechanism to calibrate this thing. Apple says that's coming, so I can't wait to see what PCMag can eke out of it then. For now, be sure to check out what PCMag has to say about the Pro Display XDR in its current state. And prepare to want one!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.